IF WE WERE BRIAR ROSES • by Brian Dolton

If we were briar roses, we would twine about one another, and the air would be charged with our scent. We would make a bower, and other lovers would make their trysts in our shade.

But I am not a briar rose. I am only a thornbush.

If we were turtle doves, we would bill and coo amongst the blossoming trees, with the spring sun warm on our wings. We would make a nest in the high branches and there we would feed our chicks, and murmur to them in the starlit night.

But I am not a turtle dove. I am only a hawk.

If we were poets, we would weave our words together, and conjure sonnets and sestinas to celebrate our love. We would write them on the palest parchment, and other lovers would read our words and sigh with envy that their love was not ours.

But I am not a poet. I am the King’s Assassin.

And so it is with sorrow in my heart that I slide the knife into yours. It is with great regret I look into your eyes, and see the hurt; in your heart, and in your soul. I do not look away. I do what I must do; the only thing I can. We all do what we must.

For you are not a rose, or a dove. You are the Queen, and you should not have betrayed your husband. Love is foolish and fleeting, when set against the duty of a wife. To follow your heart is to follow a treacherous path that can lead you only into peril; that can take you only to death.

You should not have betrayed him.

We should not have betrayed him.


Brian Dolton has never knowingly slid a knife into anyone’s heart. Very occasionally, though, he pokes people with a finger.

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